Dining in Nice, France

France is rich with culture and etiquette. You may be new to the city, but you can strike a good impression when you do the dining the French way. Here are the simple tips you can follow.


Keep Your Hands on the Table and Not on The Lap

You would think that this is a silly one, but it’s all over Europe. Good French mothers teach their kids about the “polite French diner’s way”. They have to put their wrist on the table and not on the lap. Putting your hand on your lap implies that you are pissed, and you are serious about it. So far, Frenchmen got used to other cultures. However, if you want to make a good impression, just do it.

A Simple Gesture to Tell That You are Done Eating

Here we go again with the “polite French diner’s way”. Waiters won’t take the plate away even if you say “done” when the knife and fork are not properly placed and when you have leftovers on your plate. As long as you have leftovers on your plate, the waiter will wait unless you put together both the knife and fork together across the plate. It’s a simple gesture of saying, you’re done eating.

table etiquette

Hand Signals: They Always Count the Thumb

Americans use their index finger to signal one, but for French people, they always involve the thumb in the count. So for example, you signaled one beer using your index finger, the waiter will come back with two bottles of beer. Another good example, you signaled two beers using your index and middle finger, the waiter will come back with three bottles of beer. They always include the thumb. So when you are hand signalling, use your thumb as the first count.

About Bread and Butter

Butter only comes in the morning. If you happen to eat late breakfast, you have to specifically ask for butter. Their intention is not to piss you off, it’s just that butter for French is for mornings only.